LatinaLista — I had been planning to blog about something else entirely. I, like I think most readers, are tired of this constant conservative chatter to ban birthright citizenship.
Yet, when I read the column of a local writer, whom I personally know, and have always considered a “Latino at heart,” I wasn’t just disappointed by his take on the whole birthright citizenship debate — he sides with conservatives — I realized that for as much as he’s embraced speaking Spanish, visiting Mexico and enjoying traditional Mexican dishes, he’s still an outsider when it comes to knowing the real story of Latino immigrants in this country.
Time and time again, I run into people who think all Latinos have only just arrived in this country. Of course, that’s especially true for undocumented Latino immigrants. After all, they still have the accent, are Spanish dominant and prefer the company of other Spanish-speakers.
True tell-tale signs of a recent arrival, right? Hardly.
For anyone who has tried to learn another language at an older age, the notion that you would abandon the language you grew up with or not hang around people who speak the same language you are most familiar with is ludicrous and shows an ignorance of basic human behavior.
However, what’s really ignorant is thinking that the majority of undocumented women giving birth in this country only just arrived for the express purpose of giving their children U.S. citizenship.
There is a far more likelier reason and it has more to do with border security than trying to cheat the U.S. system.
In my friend’s column, he writes:
You can’t fix this problem with walls. You have to do it with a grapevine.
It was a grapevine that carried reports back to friends and family in Mexico and China and Pakistan that living illegally in the U.S. is a piece of cake. Just get here, the grapevine said, and you won’t have any trouble finding a job, enrolling in college, buying a house and on and on.
The grapevine’s message has to change.
We can’t keep making it easy to live here illegally and ever expect illegal immigration to diminish.
The problem with my friend’s analysis is assuming that staying on this side of the border was the objective in the first place.
In 1987, the US government passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act which granted amnesty to any undocumented immigrant who entered the US before 1982 and had continuously resided here since. Of the 3.7 million eligible, 2.6 million accepted it.
Since 1983, the year after the cutoff date, there has been a steady stream of immigrants arriving in this country — both legally and illegally. The ones who came legally overstayed their visas and the ones who arrived illegally, well, they were lucky to arrive at all.
But the only way for all of these immigrants to return south of the border was to illegally cross back over the border. Though critics would like people to believe that there has been no border security all these years, the truth of the matter is that there has not only been enforced border security but it has been so effective that immigrants who only wanted to come to work were forced to stay because the likelihood of making a safe return to their jobs in the U.S. was diminished by our border security campaigns. Researchers have even documented this fact.
The grapevine my friend talks about was certainly true. But who would not want their family members to be with them since they can’t get back to them?
Parents who had come to work and were prevented from crossing back over to see their families soon had their children either brought over to them or started new families on this side of the border.
While the Pew Hispanic Center released a report this week about the number of undocumented births — 340,000 out of a total of 4.3 million — every conservative, and my friend included, has denounced this saying it is not right.
Yet, is it right to expect human beings to live their lives for years without companionship or the love of a spouse or partner that results in what is the most natural consequence of such a relationship?
For those people who believe it is right to expect such a sacrifice, their ignorance is more profound than can be addressed in a blog post.
The bottom line is that while blame is being heaped upon undocumented immigrants for having children, it has to be understood that it was U.S. federal border enforcement, especially since the early 80s, that has enabled this situation to rise to current levels — and for the vast majority of immigrant women giving birth it’s not happening with those who have just arrived, but women who have formed relationships over time and want what most Latina women are raised to believe is an important part of their future — having their own family.
Re: “I realized that for as much as he’s embraced speaking Spanish, visiting Mexico and enjoying traditional Mexican dishes, he’s still an outsider when it comes to knowing the real story of Latino immigrants in this country.”
No, he considers us outsiders. I have met lots of white people who partake in Mexican culture, who travel to Mexico all the time, who have even married a Mexican person, but who still see Mexican-Americans as “less than.” Lou Dobbs has a Mexican wife and he sees Mexicans as subhuman.
Sounds like your friend is a racist.
The reality though is that illegal immigration has to stop or the racists will use this as an excuse to take away all of our rights, something they have been dying to do since the 1960s.
This is a wonderful post 🙂
“…..and for the vast majority of immigrant women giving birth it’s not happening with those who have just arrived, but women who have formed relationships over time and want what most Latina women are raised to believe is an important part of their future — having their own family.”
Where’s your proof of this? More wishful thinking on your part? No, birthright citizenship makes no rational sense. Rewarding foreigners with an opportunity to become citizens by forcing themselves on the indigenous population is wrong. It’s wrong here, and recognized by ever country in the world, even in Latin America.
I have no idea what his political alignment is, but his ideas- other than the very hot ‘no more latinos’- espouse an even MORE bloated Federal bureaucracy, usurption of state rights, and a de facto dystopian police state. I can’t imagine so-called conservatives going along with any of that.
Also, I’d like to add that one should never confuse a love for latino culture translates to a love of latinos.
Chicano future tense
LL asks the question..
“Yet, is it right to expect human beings to live their lives for years without companionship or the love of a spouse or partner that results in what is the most natural consequence of such a relationship?”..
Of course it isn’t right!
and I would like to add to that that it isn’t right either that the undocumented immigrant live in a state of constant fear and insecurity..living in the shadows persecuted and hunted down like rabbits..
*I would also like to add to the discussion that just because a non-Latino is involved in a relationship or is married to a Latino does not necessarily mean they are non-racist.On the contrary,I have seen many,too many so-called “interracial” relationships and marriages that both disgust and sicken me-
relationships whereby the Latino tacitly capitulates to the dominant racism of their partner on a psycholgical,subconscious and pathological level accepting and giving validity to racism and inferiority as an accepted norm and status quo.
There are many such relationships out there and to me they are truly SICK.
Yo! Jamie Rimirez:
You certainly are entitled to your opinion, but do you really understand what it will take to repeal “birthright citizenship”?
To propose a change to the 14th Amendment all you need to do is get either 2/3 of both houses of Congress to propose an amendment, or 2/3 of the state legislatures to ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. By the way, the 2nd method has never been used. So good luck getting that going.
Then, to actually get your change ratified, all you need is 3/4 of the state legislatures to approve it, or ratifying conventions in 3/4 of the states approve it. And the 2nd method has only been done once — to ratify the 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition.
Good luck with that one, too.
Then you say “Rewarding foreigners with an opportunity to become citizens by forcing themselves on the indigenous population is wrong”.
I do believe that is one of the most ironic statements I have ever heard, given that most of the west used to be part of Mexico. You should mention that to a Native American in say, Crow Nation, I am sure you’ll get a big laugh. And I assume that, since you believe that “foreigners forcing themselves on the indigenous populations” is wrong you are against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, opposed our invasion of Panama, opposed our help to Pinochet in the 1972 Chilean coup, and opposed our attempts to overthrow Castro and Hugo Chavez.
Let me know where you stand on those issues. I would love to hear your response.
Re: “I can’t imagine so-called conservatives going along with any of that.”
Conservatives are racists who don’t want Latinos to be able to vote, so yes, they will go along with it.
To Jamie Ramirez: There is nothing worse than seeing a Hispanic person embrace a law that would render him a second class citizen. I don’t care if Latin America has this policy. If it’s so great, then feel free to move there. Stop lowering our standards.
If I had my way, I would just seal up the border entirely and people would then be forced to fix their own countries. Instead they are coming here illegally, which is leading to an erosion of all of our rights. I am so sick of it.
Long time, no comment. Good to be back.
Your friend’s article made me a little nauseous at this point:
“I actually consider myself a hardliner. I’m a right-and-wrong, law-and-order kind of guy. I don’t like cheating, even when I understand the motivations behind it.”
When one considers themselves to be “one thing” or “another thing”, they are lost. Here, your friend’s being lost is particularly glaring.
Look what he writes: “On balance, I think illegal immigration has probably been a positive thing for the United States…but still, the law is the law”.
Laws should serve purposes. If they do not, they become dangerous, especially if that law has potential to affect millions of individuals lives, literally.
A question for Mr. Blow: what if your child was an “illegal immigrant”? would you call ICE. I sure as hell wouldn’t.
While parenthood is a wonderful gift, there are responsibilies that go along with it. Like not having more children than you can afford to take care of. The people that have babies can not expect the American taxpayers to pay their way. Do not depend on taxpayer dollars to fund your family, have pride and take care of them yourself!!
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